Why Padma Lakshmi's Memory Of Picking Apples With Her Daughter Is So Bittersweet

On November 20, Padma Lakshmi shared a couple of decade-old photographs of her and her daughter Krishna picking apples. The adorable photos show her child staring in utter bewilderment at an apple Lakshmi offers during the quintessential fall activity.

That sweetness takes on a somber note when one reads the actual description she included with the Instagram post. "These photos were taken days before I lost my lover to brain cancer a decade ago today. This period was such a mix of sorrow and exhaustion, but also moments of motherly joy," she wrote. The lover was the billionaire Teddy Forstmann who, as Vanity Fair reported, took the fact that he was not Krishna's biological father poorly.

The loss expressed on Instagram found an eager crowd of support. As of writing, 11,885 people liked it and the comments flooded with commiseration. "My mom has brain cancer right now, it's such an awful disease," one sympathized. Others referenced the part of Lakshmi's memoir that dealt with this sorrow: "Reading about his passing in your book broke my heart for you and Krishna."

A recipe for Teddy

At first glance, the text of the Instagram post could be read as incredibly jarring. Directly after evaluating the mixed moment shared with her daughter, Padma Lakshmi explained, "I wrote about all this and my applesauce recipe on Substack." Without further context, it could be misconstrued as a highly cynical ploy.

However, on Substack, the recipe gets presented as "Applesauce for Teddy," with the event of apple picking described as an attempt to do something productive when there was nothing to be done about Forstmann's deteriorating condition. "It was hard for him to swallow, and he could hardly be bothered to chew. But I knew he couldn't resist my applesauce," she explained. "It was warm, comforting, and sweet."

To make the apple sauce, you need chopped and peeled apples, lemon juice, unsalted butter, cane sugar, kosher salt, ground cinnamon, and ground clove. Toss the apples and lemon juice in a bowl. Melt the butter and add the apples once it is browned. Cook for a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients. Raise the heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes with regular stirring.